The Mount Airy Granite Bears have been a force to be reckoned with on the pitch this year. The mercy rule came into play in each of the Bears’ previous victories, and nearly did once again in Tuesday night’s 8-0 victory over the Trojans of Alleghany High School. Despite Mount Airy’s intimidating reputation, Alleghany came out fighting and kept it close in the first half.
Alleghany knew going into this match that they needed to weather the initial storm that was the Mount Airy offense. Junior Austin Tumbarello took the ball down the field for the Bears and got a shot on goal in the first 30 seconds of the match. The next few minutes were completely controlled by Mount Airy. The Bears fired shot after shot at Alleghany keeper Kevin Trujillo. Only a freshman, Trujillo was quickly exposed to the high level of soccer being played in the region.
Despite this, Trujillo kept the Bears off the scoreboard. The Trojan offense gained a little bit of momentum by keeping the ball in the middle third of the field, but were still unable to mount an attack. It was the 14th minute before the Mount Airy keeper had to shake off the cobwebs to make a save.
What makes Mount Airy so dangerous is their ability to regulate the pace of the game. Senior Robert Brown does an excellent job of slowing the game down when his opponent tries to attack and then instantly creates an opportunity for a counterattack. Brown caught Alleghany defenders off guard and sent a 35-yard screamer straight at the Trojan keeper and when it was deflected, junior Luis Osorno nudged the ball into the net in the 18th minute. Austin Tumbarello added to the Bears’ lead with a goal in minute 25.
Trujillo did exceptionally well to defend the Trojans’ goal in the first half with the exception of the two quality goals earned by the Bears. Trujillo seemed to learn as the match progressed, and if he can continue to grow at this rate, will be a key for the Alleghany squad. Trujillo had 14 saves in the first half alone to keep his team down only 2-0 at the half.
The second half saw Mount Airy continue to bombard the Trojans with shots. However now the shots were flying wide or high of the goal, making Trujillo’s job a bit easier. Alleghany seemed to be the hungrier team coming out of halftime and got two early shots, nearly matching their first half total. Defenders were more aggressive and kept the Bears scoreless in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
But in typical fashion, the Granite Bears broke the seal with a goal from sophomore Bryan Valadez in the 51st minute, and it was all but over for the visiting Trojans. Jarrett Jimenez added a goal less than a minute later off an assist from Austin Tumbarello and the Bears smelled blood in the water. The shots that the Bears were previously missing were now soaring into the back of the net. Trujillo did his best to block shots, but again was targeted with 20-plus shots in the second half.
Alleghany’s fighting spirit seemed to deflate and the Bears didn’t let up. Austin Tumbarello completed his hat trick with two consecutive goals. Junior Jesus Lachino and Robert Brown rounded out the Bears’ eight goals.
The Bears rolled through the Trojans, but Mount Airy Coach Will Hurley sang the praises of the young Alleghany players and coaches.
“I think that’s the best Alleghany team I have ever seen,” Hurley said. “Hats off to those two coaches, they’ve done a fantastic job.”
The Trojans may have lost the match, but they can take a bit of pride in doing what no team has done to the Bears this season…compete for a full 80 minutes.
“I think it’s good for us to play in a full game at least once in a while,” Hurley jokingly said after the game.
Mount Airy, now 5-0, looks to keep its streak alive against North Surry (1-2) Wednesday. Alleghany (0-1) will have a change at redemption when they play Mount Airy again on September 6.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith